April 2013 – G. Ray Kerciu

    Laguna Beach artist G. Ray Kerciu says innovation is the driving force in his artwork, and his inventiveness is evident in even a cursory look at his lifelong output. After earning his Master’s of Fine Art degree in printmaking from Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1961, Kerciu focused on abstract expressionist paintings. He received national attention for a series that combined painting, printmaking and social commentary in a stinging critique of the anti-desegregation movement at the University of Mississippi, where he was teaching. He continued with printmaking when he became a professor at Cal State Fullerton in 1963. During his tenure there, he also produced work at several famous printmaking studios, such as Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles and Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris. Kerciu later turned his attention to stained glass; with his students, he created a stained glass mural for the Fireside Lounge in the Titan Student Union. Kerciu retired from teaching in 2002, which gave him more time for his art—and more media to explore. He calls his latest sculptures the Tower Series and they are three-dimensional, linear explorations of pyramids and obelisks that had figured in some of his paintings. His work is in collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, among others. A retrospective opens this month at Cal State Fullerton. —Anastacia Grenda